In the original 1984 ‘Terminator’ film, 2029 is described as “the year of darkness.”  In terms of the franchise’s history, though, that title may be far more suited to 2017. The venerable franchise seems to have been dealt one blow after another ever since the release of ‘Terminator Genisys‘ in 2015, and the latest may well be the greatest.

Citing an anonymous studio source, the New York Daily News is reporting that Paramount execs have killed a planned sixth ‘Terminator’ film, which would have been a direct follow up to ‘Terminator Genisys’. This not only marks the end of the road for ‘Terminator 6’ but also of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time in the role that made him a star.

The Daily News’s source explains:

It is over for ‘The Terminator’ and Arnold. The studio has taken the sequel off the production slate completely,  meaning that there is no preproduction or any plans for another sequel. The talent had been offered long term deals, but this is not happening.

This comes after a year in which Paramount quietly removed ‘Terminator 6’ from its schedule and ‘Game of Thrones’ star Emilia Clarke stated rather definitively that she would not be returning to the role of Sarah Connor. All of this, of course, came in the wake of the dismal critical performance of ‘Terminator Genisys’, which the unidentified individual suggests may have been a factor:

The Genisys movie was seen as a way of reviving (the franchise), but the critics were not happy and somehow the studio bosses fell out of love with making more, even though they made huge profits.

‘Terminator Genisys’ was intended to have served as a launch point for a trilogy (at least) of new ‘Terminator’ films, the second of which was originally planned for summer 2017. But despite that installment’s overall box office success (much of which came from international markets), the chilly reception it received from both critics and US audiences alike immediately cast doubt upon those plans.

And while nothing can be ruled out at the stage, the delays and other stumbling blocks the franchise is facing make Schwarzenegger’s return it ever more unlikely, says the Daily News’s inside man:

It would need an independent production company to think about making this, and asking Arnie back at age 70 to play that again may be a tough ask.

Though some fans may be disappointed by these reports, none of it is really all that surprising. While the first two installments are widely regarded as classics, the more recent entries have been less warmly received, and the franchise as a whole seemed to have lost its sense of direction by the time ‘Terminator Genisys’ found its way to  theaters. But fans can take heart in the fact that franchise creator and original director James Cameron is due to regain the full legal rights to the series in 2019. Cameron has already expressed his interest in spearheading a new ‘Terminator’ film (described by some sources as a reboot) with ‘Deadpool’ director Tim Miller at the helm.

Be sure to stop by the comments to let us know what you think future ‘Terminator’ films can do to right the ship, and be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more news on the franchise going forward.